Archive for tour

Transmission 5.29.2012 PODCAST 015

Posted in Everything Went Black Media, Podcast with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by everythingwentblack

From the first time I heard Ulcerate, I realized that they were not a typical band. They were clearly operating within the death metal genre, but instead of catering to a certain style, it was more a case of using the language of death metal to express more diverse concepts. It may sound dramatic, but I feel like Ulcerate are the future of death metal.

When Tombs had the opportunity to play shows with them, we jumped at it.

Though it was only three dates, I feel that it was an honor to share the stage with them.

Jamie and I, in the wake of the theft of their gear, had a quick conversation before our show in Boston. I hope to see these guys on the road at some point soon.
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http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/everything-went-black/id438300734

Transmission 4.25.2012 Adventures in the Great Outdoors – Roadburn, Wasser mit Gas, European Tour

Posted in Everything Went Black Media, The Trip with tags , , , , on April 25, 2012 by everythingwentblack

4.12.2012 JFK Delta Terminal 15:47

We’re sitting at the terminal, waiting to board. I like to get to the airport early, I’ll sit at the gate all day rather than be late. There’s always that nagging anxiety that somehow we won’t be able to get on the plane, even though everything is on the up-and-up with us these days.

We drove out to Ozone Park in the van, parked in front of the Delaney family’s house and took a car service to the airport; it was the same procedure that we used to fly out to L.A. a couple of months ago for the Scion Show. I woke up around 07:30 going over the items on my to-do list in my head, before we shipped out. I had to swing by the Shirts and Destroy shop to pick up a box of merch before heading over to the practice space to meet the rest of the guys.

Soon we’ll be in the air, inside of a metal tank that somehow flies through the air over the Atlantic Ocean. It’ll be a short run, shows every night, bread, cheese and bubbly water.

21:03 EST
I’m somewhere over the Atlantic. We had some turbulence so the fasten seatbelts sign was on for a while and they suspended service until things cooled. I have the dreaded middle seat, as a matter of fact all four of us are in the middle position. The lady next to me wasn’t going to let me out to the bathroom because the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign was on.

I blasted through the interview I did with Will for the War on 45 site. I haven’t been able to get the time to sit down and do the transcription. Will is a good friend so there’s a personal component to this.

The curtain between “Business Class” and Coach are drawn. We’re heathens back here in Coach. It’s a long flight, maybe we will wage a war for territory against Business Class and take their extra leg room and higher-quality, complimentary pillows.

4.13.2012 Saarbrucken, Germany 19:47

We’re at the venue waiting to play. I didn’t sleep at all last night on the plane; I can never get to sleep on these overnights. We met up with Ben and the Hierophant guys at the airport and drove 6 hours to get here. I faded in and out during the ride. I drank some coffee, ate and now I feel pretty good.

We got a chance to run through the gear; I’m always stressed out until I can sort out my gear. We’re using Hierophant’s backline so there’s a bit of a learning curve. Everything seems in order so I can settle down..

23:34
We’re checked-in at the hotel. My hours are all turned upside down and I feel delirious, there is a sense of unreality that I’m working with. Then goal is to get as much rest as possible tonight.

European tour syndrome was in full effect tonight. The van pulled up behind the venue, we loaded in and I hung out backstage for the whole night. As we drove away, I saw that this really cool town square was about a block away; pretty much all I saw of Saarbruken was the venue, the alley and the hotel. We’re shipping out tomorrow at around 11:00 for Roadburn.

We played well tonight; I was able to more or less pull off singing “Passageways” and “Silent World”. It was the first time we played them live, ever. It was a small turnout but I’ll take it. I talked to some kids that had seen Anodyne back in 2004. One of them was Taibe the lighting guy for Llynch, the band we toured with on our only European tour. Was it really 8 years ago? Time flies on broken wings. We’re all going to die out here someday.

I’m thinking back to how fucked things were for me on the last European tour. I was going through a pretty intense upheaval and I felt distracted. It made me focus on the playing more because that was the only solace I had. The long drives in the van, the hours spent inside of my head were like walking through Hell. We’re only here for a handful of days; I feel better, I can focus on doing my job this time around and enjoy the trip.

4.15.2012 Tilburg, Netherlands 08:27

I’m sitting in the breakfast room of the hotel, I just finished off a plate of food, now I’m drinking the bitter, Dutch coffee. We got in about 02:30, I sat up and read a few more pages of “A Fighter’s Mind” by Dan Sheridan before falling asleep. I just finished reading “A Fighter’s Heart”, his first book, on the morning that we shipped out. It some of the best writing on combat sports that I’ve ever read.

The Netherlands is such a relaxed, chilled-out place, it’s almost ironic that some of the top kick-boxers are based out of here. Everyone seems high all the time in this country.

Playing Roadburn was probably the coolest experience we’ve ever had. The whole thing ran like clockwork, everyone was polite and totally cool. Walter, the point man behind the whole operation, made sure to stop by and say hello to everyone, which added a nice personal touch. I ran into a lot of friends: Ralph Schmidt, his fiancé Dani, Josh Graham, The Pelican guys, Dave Clark, Jamie Thomson and the Process guys. Pip, Relapse, Joeren and Juggalo Bob, English Matt just to name few. Tom G. Warrior was hanging out in the backstage; I approached him and asked for a photo, which is something that I never do, but I have to admit that I was in awe. He’s such a larger-than-life icon in the metal world; Celtic Frost and Hellhammer have been such huge influences on what we do in Tombs. He was cool and didn’t mind how awkward I felt asking. It made the whole voyage to Europe worthwhile in my book. Fan moment number 2 happened hours later at the end of the night. We were getting ready to load our gear out and I saw Away from Voivod walk by; I said to Dan, “that’s Away from Voivod”, he must have heard me because he turned around, smiled and said, “you’re the guys from Tombs!” He then went into saying how he dug our set. I was floored! Voivod has been one of my favorite bands for most of my life. I started listening to them shortly after I discovered metal back when I was in high school.

In addition to all of this, we played a set in this venue that used to be a church; there were stained glass windows, a high, vaulted ceiling, very gothic; the room was deep and mostly constructed of wood and plaster so it had a really warm sound. We were playing during the same time slot as Sleep and Necros Christos so I didn’t expect much of a turn out. I was pleasantly surprised to see the room pretty much full when we started the set. We played well; aside from “Silent World” and “Passageways”, we’ve been playing these songs for over a year, so at this point there shouldn’t be any surprises. Orion is holding it down, this is only about his 6th show with us, so I imagine playing a set at Roadburn with us must be a trip for him.

Today, It’s back to Germany. I’m not sure how far of a drive it is. We’re driving around in Ben’s van. It’s the same vehicle we used on the tour with The Secret last summer. Sitting in the van brings back all of heavy memories of the brutal drives, exhaustion and the turmoil that I was in during that last run. That’s part of the past now, I’m over it and I’m doing everything I can do to make sure I never go through something like that again.

Coffee Cup Number 3, I’m settling in. One of the only downside of being on the road is not being able to train. There are different people in music, sometimes the ego aspect of this trip gets to me, not to say that there aren’t egos in Jiu Jitsu, but the intensity of the physical commitment seems to keep a lot of that in check. It’s a different set of rules out here; I’m trying to roll with the positive vibe that I picked up with training.

My favorite set of the day was Oranssi Pazuzu, the tripped-out black metal band from Finland. They went on right before us and I was mesmerized by their set. I only have mp3 files of their music. At least in the states, it’s hard to find physical copies of their material.

Onward to Bremen today.

Bremen, Germany 16:45We just finished sound-checking; Hierophant is doing their thing on stage, getting sounds. Morser is playing tonight; my mind is totally blown; I never thought that I would have a chance to see them, let alone play a show with them. I didn’t even realize that they were still active.

I dozed off in the van listening to the new Blut Aus Nord record; it somehow seemed appropriate for the bleak Germany countryside. One thing that I’ll never get used to is the requirement to pay for use of the rest rooms on the road through most of Europe.

17:44I took a cruise around the neighborhood; we’re across from the bus station, there’s a large cobblestone square lined with kebab joints, porno books shops and newsstands. I’m instantly reminded of the German film Christiane F featuring Natja Brunckhorst and that killer David Bowie sound track. There’s a version of the song “Heroes” called “Helden” where Bowie sings in German. I saw that movie on VHS when I was in high school and it blew my mind. I know that film was shot in Berlin, but there’s a stark vibe here that makes me thing of drug addicts, hookers and male hustlers. At night, when the businesses shut down, I bet it gets seedy around here. I make these observations and I wonder how much of it is influenced by my state of mind, how much of perception is colored by mood and emotional state.

It’s cold in the backstage room; I’m wearing my jacket. I bought a falafel at one of the myriad of Middle Eastern eateries in the area. I can hear Morser downstairs sound-checking. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play.

4.16.2012 Bremen, Germany 00:24We’re at the hostel; I’m staying in a room with Dan and some of the other Hierophant guys. We have at least a six hour drive tomorrow to get to the next stop; I can’t remember where it is, I just know that we have a six hour drive.

Tonight was cool; it was a small show but everyone we met was really nice. I felt like we played well. Riggs told me that a girl cried because we were out of small shirts.

Morser did not let me down; I never thought that I would get the chance to see them…ever. They were cool guys and we traded shirts with them; I picked up their latest record; I can’t wait to get back to my room at home to listen to it.

I should hit the rack. It’s cold, I’m wearing a hoody and I have a blanket pulled up over me.

Karlsruhe, Germany 18:08We arrived at the venue about an hour ago. It was a long, cold ride south from Bremen. At times, it was sleeting; I slept on and off. Pelican is sound-checking. It’s great seeing those guys; Roadburn was so chaotic that I didn’t get much of an opportunity to hang out with them. Also Brother Ralph Schmidt is scheduled to make an appearance tonight as well.

It costs 0.75 Euro. You buy a ticket, you enter a turnstile do your thing in the Men’s room and then you get a credit to buy something in the shop. I’ll never get used to this. Dan hopped the turnstile today; I know that if I tried that, I would get caught.

Black Shape of Nexus is also playing tonight. This tour has been cool for seeing bands that I never thought I would see: Black Shape of Nexus, Oranssi Pazuzu and Morser.

4.17.2912 Schweinfurt, Germany 17:48I feel drained today. We didn’t have a very long drive from Karlsruhe to Schweinfurt, but I feel empty. We played here on our first European tour; I remember it being a drag so maybe I’m anticipating a bad time tonight. It’s just us and Hierophant tonight, alone in this big, cold building. I’m sitting in the upstairs sleeping quarters. There’s band graffiti all over the walls; it seems like every available space is covered with band names, declaration of sexual prowess or poorly rendered penises.

It was great hanging out with the Pelican guys last night; we have two more shows with them at the end of the week. This tour feels like it has gone on for too long already, but I don’t really have that much going on at home except for training. It feels like a grind right now; there is no specific goal except to play shows, make some money to pay off our various expenses and fly home.

Last night was cool; Dallas is filling in for Laurent. Damn, what a great player he is! Black Shape of Nexus were awesome. I picked up their new double LP. I had been in touch with Malte, their singer over the past few months, it was nice to meet him in person. I have been into their music for the past few years. I spoke with Ralf, the guitarist/recordist of the band. He told me that he’s a DIY devotee, that if he doesn’t know how to do something, he does whatever it takes to learn it. I’ve been thinking about that statement all day.

Germans: distant, reticent and opinionated. They will tell you exactly what they don’t like about you, your music or your choice of songs for the set list. Every tour has too many dates in Germany. It’s a heavy place; even when the sun shines here, it seems like the clouds are doing everything they can to suppress the light. A German told Dan that I look like a criminal.

I finished reading Dan Sheridan’s book, “The Fighter’s Mind.” It gave me a lot to think about. When I get back, I’m going to apply some of the things I learned from the book into my training. There were awesome sections with Renzo Gracie and Marcelo Garcia. In Marcelo’s chapter, he addressed the concept of being the best. Jiu Jitsu people want to put the spotlight on him and his response is that he’s love Jiu Jitsu more than anyone else and that’s why he is successful. That can be applied to pretty much anything; you have to love it more than anyone that may be a potential competitor if you want to be successful.
I’m thinking about bands, people that play music and all of the lightweight trips they are on. I’m thinking about people that you’ve known for years that look at you pretend that they have no idea who you are. People like that should try some kind of intense physical training, something that will break down their ego and make them realize that they are not the best, that there is always another level to go to. True humbleness is such a relief and the only place I really experience that is in Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts.

We should draw a good 6 or 7 people tonight.

4.18.2012 Schweinfurt, Germany 02:35I was pretty much on the money with tonight’s attendance. I don’t care, I played as hard as I did at Roadburn. I’m a machine, I turn on the switch and you get the same thing every time. I don’t have the program to go half way. However showed up got a good show and that’s all that matters to me.

We hung out in the upstairs crash pad. I ate some of the leftovers from dinner. I took a shower; some dude from another band wrote about how many loads he shot in the shower. There’s a mind-numbing sameness to all of this. Loneliness, sexual frustration, boredom, these are the things that mutate us on the road.

There’s a long drive to Prague tomorrow.

4.18.2012 Prague, Czech Republic 18:35I had difficulty sleeping last night, couldn’t wind down. I saw that the sun was coming up and decided that getting sleep was not going to happen. We were on the road at 09:00 and I slept for most of the drive cranking a bunch of early Metallica that I had on my iPod; mostly “Ride the Lightining” and “…And Justice for All.”

We got to the club in the afternoon and checked out some of the city. I’ve been to Prague in the past, but there is a lot of the city I haven’t seen. I have a feeling that tonight will be one of those nights. I haven’t seen any promotion for the show anywhere and the venue seems more like place where people would drink Absinthe and listen to house music.The show is in this dungeon-like room below a bar. It’s just us and Hierophant tonight. It could go either way.

Some of the most beautiful women in the world live in Eastern Europe. It was like admiring rare flowers in a garden today. As I get older, it’s enough for me to just admire a woman’s beauty and not try to creep up on them. It comes with maturity I suppose.

I feel exhausted. I want to play the set and get on with it.

4.19.2012 Munich, Germany 19:12I’m sitting in the sleeping quarters above the venue. The last time I was here, my whole life got turned upside down. I made sure that I got the same bunk that I was in on that night.. I remember the fruitless attempts at sleep that night, the feeling that I had just stepped into a dark hole.

Tonight will be different.

I can’t remember much about the show in Prague. I remember waking up this morning and driving back into Germany.

Junius is on the bill tonight. It’s cool seeing those guys.

I just had dinner with Larry and the other Pelican guys. I was in a really bad mood until I had some food and took a shower now I feel relaxed and ready to kick it. We’ll see about the crowd. I don’t think the average Pelican fan really feels what we’re doing. I don’t care: I play as hard as I can and drive away to the next show. I love the dudes in Pelican so it’s enough to be here and hang with them, watch them play and. Did I mention how much ass Dallas is kicking? I have to see his band Swan King play next time they’re in New York. Their record is great, but the word is that it pales next to the live show.

We had a nice chicken curry and rice dish; Trevor said the vegetarian version was better. Maybe I’ll try it later.

21:11The set is over, I’m ready to pack up and get the fuck out of here. I’m in that mindset tonight. This place feels bad to me, there are ghosts haunting me. I think about how I felt last time I was here and I want to get off the boat. I feel like such a failure.

Do the soundguys get paid here? The front-of-house man did all he could to ignore all of my requests for the vocal monitor. I can roll with pretty much any situation, but in a professional venue like this, with professional gear, they should be able to get it right. Maybe he was doing that German thing; I don’t know. It borderline ruined my performance, I feel like I pushed my voice too hard and didn’t have any control. Stuff like that matters in a place where people can actual hear what you’re trying to do.

I wish I could pull my head out of my ass and loosen up. It was such a heavy trip when I was here a few months ago. I’m kicking back in the same bunk, trying to meditate on the emotions I had. I can feel it manifest, hanging over me like a black cloud. I will do battle with it; I will make war on it and by morning it will be broken.

Loneliness and hard times are nothing to me. I will eviscerate loneliness. I’ll take it down into the pit where I live and choke it out. My life is made up of brief moments of light but in reality I know that these depths are where I belong because I destroy every relationship that I’ve ever been in. I’m the depression machine tonight. My soul is a drain; depression rides on my back forever. I want to go to nowhere. I want to walk until I disappear; life seems like a secret wrapped in a secret to me sometimes.

Tonight there will be the party-thing after the show. I want to be alone in this bunk, walking down the corridors of memory and hard times, swinging on a hinge.

By the way, I tried the vegetarian curry; Trevor was right.

4.20.2012 Berlin, Germany 17:57We got in about an hour ago. I slept pretty much the entire ride. When I woke up I played “Come Reap” by Devil’s Blood as we sat in traffic. It’s Friday night. This is the first time that I’ve been in Berlin without it being cold and raining. It’s sunny and pleasant out, there are people wandering around and I may take a walk before things kick off. Pelican are sound checking now.

I’m trying to shake the negative feelings, the heavy thoughts. The Munich / Berlin run carries a lot of baggage for me from the last time I was here. I was dealing with a lot of issues back home. The last few days have been hard, but I have to remember that a lot has changed in my life. The last time was so heavy; I felt like my life had bottomed out. I remember playing the set, loading up and driving all night to catch a ferry up to Scandinavia.

The tour is almost over; one more date after tonight and then we fly back home.

It’s odd playing with Pelican without Laurent. Dallas is killing it so there hasn’t been any compromises as far as the band’s performance goes. It would have been awesome to be out on the road again with Laurent.

We did a podcast after the show last night. It started out with total chaos but toward the end, we got some good conversation in as the drunk people began to fall out. It was down to me, Joe Martinez, Trevor and Mike. We were up until after 05:00 talking. Joe suggested some reading material for me:

Michael Cremo – Forbidden Archeology

Jim Mars – Alien Agenda

Jill Bolty Taylor – The Ted Conference

22:27Pelican is playing. Our set was a little sloppy, but I felt like we had good energy. We played hard, it sounded bad on stage; threw me off a little. Tonight is the last show with Pelican, they fly up to Finland and we continue on with Hierophant to Brussels. Tomorrow is the last day. The tour was short but I’ll take it. The Hierophant guys were cool; great road partners. Today, in the van, we were listening to a recording of their new material. It sounded heavy, sort of His Hero is Gone-esque; I’d like to get a copy of it.

We have a long ride tomorrow. The show will be over early so we can get some sleep before we get into the long haul across Germany. I’ll be glad to get out of these places. It won’t be so hard for me next time around.

4.21.2012 Brussels, Germany 19:41Tonight’s the last show. We’re playing in this place that holds 600; the promoter says presales have been slow, so I’m expecting a big empty room. They have a great sound system and the room looks as if it was designed for real bands to play in; this place has probably seen better days. The neighborhood looks rundown and sketchy.

We drove all day. I had my iPod on, playing various podcasts, “Black coffee Blues 1 and 2” and dozing off. At one point, we passed a sign for Hannover and I remembered that the Scorpions formed there. It wouldn’t be a proper European tour for us without at least one brutal drive. At least this time around, we didn’t have any ferries.

I find touring in Europe to be more draining than in the states. Maybe it’s the isolation, the detachment. No matter how many times I come over here, I will always feel like an alien. I spend the days wrapped up in my jacket, sitting in the back of the van with my headphones on until we stop at a fuel station to get diesel, piss and get coffee. The time we spend in each city is fleeting; it’s rare that I have time to wander around the city at all. That’s the number, one day at a time, one kilometer at a time.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be home again.

4.22.2012 Amsterdam, Netherlands Airport 14:28We’re waiting at the gate; the flight doesn’t leave until 17:45.

The show was cool last night; I met a bunch of really nice people. This amazing band called Daggers opened the show; I picked up their LP after the show. They had that sort of European sound similar to Amen Ra, Breach and Celeste. There’s a hardcore element tempered with this kind of artsy vibe. You can tell these dudes probably have Neurosis records along with His Hero is Gone.

We checked into the hostel and hung out in Hierophant’s room; it was the last night of tour and the vibe was loose. There must have been some kind of high school class trip because the floor that the Italians were on was filled with rowdy youngsters, yelling and raising hell in the hallways. The question I had was where was the supervision?

We all hit the rack around 01:00; it was a short run from Brussels to the airport but everyone was tired; I know we were all looking forward to getting on the plane. At about 02:30, I noticed that I wasn’t asleep anymore and that there was this alarm sounding off. It could only be one thing, but we were all trying to convince ourselves that it was something else. Logic ultimately prevailed and we exited down the emergency stairs.

We met up with the Italians; Ben looked furious. The high school trip was also assembled outside. Apparently, someone had discharged a fire extinguisher on first floor, the same floor that the high school kids were located on. We spotted this one kid looking nervous, kind of shuffling around, looking guilty. He was the reason why none of us were asleep.

Orion braced the kid up and asked him why he set off the fire extinguisher. Apparently, the kid challenged him to a fight in the morning. Kids these days are growing up without the fear of getting an ass-kicking and I feel that this is a negative thing. Getting your ass kicked when you’re coming up is a positive thing, but the weakness of parents is turning a whole generation into douchebags.

After a while, we went back into the lobby. Some dude was going off, yelling in French. I think he was on to the concept that one of the high school kids was behind the whole fire extinguisher situation, and he was going to get to the bottom of it. We made our way over to the elevators; suddenly words were being exchanged between us and a group of 14-year-old males. This kid was stepping up to the elevator, speaking French and taking an aggressive posture, making eye contact with me. Yeah, a 14-year-old kid was moving on me to fight! Of course nothing happened, an adult stepped in to cool everything off. Why did he let it get to that point? Didn’t he realize that a 14-year old kid was moving on a grown man?

We’re kicking it, bored but all checked in. Dealing with international travel always stresses me out. We always have extra bags and it seems almost arbitrary how much they charge us. That’s all behind us now; the only thing left is to get on the plane, post up for the 7 plus hour flight and go home.

Transmission 2.14.2012 SCION LA Weekend

Posted in The Trip with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by everythingwentblack

2.10.2012 Ventura, CA 21:50I’m exhausted; we have a couple of hours left until we play the set. We landed at 15:00, secured a taxi and fought our way down the 405 to get to West Hollywood. I talked to this really cool guy on line waiting for the taxi; he gave us a rundown of the area around the hotel as far as places to eat go. He let us go ahead of him. I can’t remember the names of any of the places he suggested.

We checked into the Grafton on Sunset Blvd. All of the bands and Relapse staff are staying there. The interview that was originally scheduled for 17:00 was postponed due to an issue with power. The Scion guys told us to standby so we fell back to a Mexican restaurant down the street. As soon as we sat down and opened the menu my phone rang and we were told to come back for the interview. Me, Andrew and Dan did the interview, Paul and Ron hung back and picked something up for us.

My man, Jay Bennet interviewed us. They let us go first because we had a show later that night. The whole time we were talking, my mind was fixating on eating food. I hope I did a good job; I don’t like being distracted when I do these things. If someone is interested in asking me questions, the least I can do is provide good answers. I hadn’t had anything to eat since before we got on the plane. Everything is a la carte on Virgin. They give you coffee and water but you get charged for the food. I scanned the menu but couldn’t justify paying for the low quality fare they had to offer.

After the interview we ate and shipped out. Scion gave us a car to drive around. Not bad; they make it really easy. Ten years ago, I would probably have a different opinion about all of this Scion business. I went through a long period of not feeling comfortable with accepting money, straight up cash, to tour and do shows. The shows are free to the public so all of the funding is at a complete loss; nothing is recouped by ticket sales, it’s all a marketing project.

I was uncomfortable until I thought about the entitlement that people feel to get everything for free. Hey, I’m cool with you downloading or record for free if you want, but understand that the money has to come from somewhere, especially for bands like us that operate on an extremely slim margin. I’ve always been more about the live show and touring but in the old days, there was at least the hope that someone would buy your record.

I can barely keep my eyes open. There’s a pretty sparse crowd up here tonight. The Fucking Wrath, one of the bands that we’re playing with, helped us out and offered their gear to us tonight. They were key in making this whole thing happen. They have good equipment, but it’s always an adjustment when using gear that belongs to someone else. The familiarity is missing. This is a good warm up for Paul; I’d the to be in his shoes without having a chance to work out the kinks in the live thing.

I watched the “Rum Diaries” on the flight over. I really enjoy Johnny Depp working with Hunter S. Thompson’s material. I know that he admires Thompson and his performance reflects a deep level of commitment. I’d like to watch it again in a less anxious setting. I read the book ages ago and the film captures that sort of wild vibe of Puerto Rico back in those days. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico so I guess I don’t know if that statement is true or not, however, even thought there are some details that differ from the novel, the vibe and feel is pretty much spot on.

2.11.2012 Los Angeles, CA 09:30I didn’t get much sleep last night. We got back to the hotel at 03:00 which is more like 06:00 with the jet-lag. When I climbed into bed it felt like the most comfortable bed that I had ever slept in, I felt like a king. I slept hard but woke up early, tired but not able to get back to sleep. I secured a cup of complementary coffee and sat by the pool. According to my phone, New York City is going to get snow today and here I am, sitting next to a pool, wearing a short sleeve t shirt.

We got through the set. Paul id d a great job; it was a little awkward at first, but I think we settled in and were able to lock into the set. At some point, towards the end, I looked back at Andrew and this girl was on stage talking to him. Afterward, I asked him what she was saying to him. He told me she said, “I have to go now,” and bailed.

After the set, I was running on pure will. I was thankful that we only had our guitars, effects and a snare drum to load out. I kept drifting off during the ride back to L.A. I would open my eyes and see the miasma of logos passing by: Denny’s, Fatburger, In and Out Burger and miscellaneous fuel stations. Suddenly, we were back in L.A. It’s so different than New York with the miles of urban waste and suburbs that you drive to before you get into the city.

We’re expected at the venue at around 10:00. Aaron Harris is going to mix sound for us.

23.30I’m shot. The day is over and in a few hours we leave for LAX. The whole trip seemed to pass by at the speed of light. I’m thinking about how killer the new Van Halen record sounds. There’s a huge photograph of some woman’s cleavage hanging over my bed; there’s a similar photograph hanging over Paul’s bed but it’s of a model’s legs disappearing up a short, black skirt. It’s the most L.A. hotel room in the universe. I’m tempted to try the Neuro Sleep drink and take a hit off the oxygen tank but that would probably cost us a fortune. When we first got into the room, we decimated the snack tray. I wonder how much all of this is going to cost? It’s a good thing I have my credit card on file.

I feel like we played well. The moments leading up to the set were stressful; the stage management indicated that we had 7 minutes to get ready. I told the guy that I’d rather cut a song than kick into the set half-assed. Nonetheless, we didn’t get much of a line check, but Aaron is enough of a pro to react to the situation and get the soundboard happening. It was cool to look over and see Paul rocking out. He really stepped up and delivered.

Afterward, the back stage room was filled with people that weren’t in bands eating our food and drinking the beer. The club had security guys that were supposed to be watching who came and went; it always strikes me as odd that it’s so easy to get back to a “secure” room. Usually bands keep their personal stuff there and anyone can just through your stuff and take things. Luckily everyone was cool enough to just stick to eating our food and drinking the beer and water that was left for us. One guy was complaining that the beer was warm. I told him that he shouldn’t complain because he got in for free and he’s eating and drinking from a stash that wasn’t meant for him. He regarded me with this strange look, like I was out of line somehow. I later discovered that the guy complaining about the warm beer had kicked Dan’s guitar chord our during our set while he was in the process of shooting a picture. I imagine that he will talk shit about us because we had an issue with him, a stranger, lurking around our personal stuff and complaining that the beer wasn’t cold.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m too old for this. Sometimes, I wonder if I could be happy staying home, working a job, training martial arts and leaving these people to their own devices; would that be enough for me?

The big highlight of the evening was hanging out with Thompson and Bennet. I wish I could hang with those dudes every day. We got food at this burger place on Sunset then went back to the hotel room to record a podcast. I couldn’t get anything usable; the new Van Halen record was cranking, people kept walking in and out of the room and we were talking too much shit and incriminating ourselves in too many questionable activities that we decided that it would be best to abort the mission; maybe next time.

Thompson went back home to feed his dog and we hit the Relapse after party for a while. It was pretty mellow, but with the 05:00 wake up time in the back of my head, decided to call it an early night. The coolest thing was meeting Scott from Repulsion and having him say that he dug the record.

I need to get some sleep.

Transmission 8.30.2011 Blues Jam

Posted in The Trip, Tombs with tags , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by everythingwentblack

“When the night lasts forever and time stands still” Playlist

http://soundcloud.com/mike-hill/sets/night-time

Transmission 8.29.2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 29, 2011 by everythingwentblack

Over the course of the European Tour a few people have asked me about the ambient track that I used between songs. When we tour in the U.S., I use a more “pro” setup than I do in Europe due to the fact that we’re limited by what we can bring with us on the plane.

This time around, I went extremely lo-fi and used an iPod with an A/B switch. I uploaded the mono ambient track to the iPod and just hit play at the beginning of the set, cutting it on or off with the switch. It was simple yet, very effective.

Below is a link to download the entire mono track as an mp3. Feel free to cut it up and use if for your own projects or just to play while you’re cleaning your apartment.

http://soundcloud.com/draconian-age-music/master-sound-piece

Transmission 8.24.2011 PODCAST 008

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , on August 24, 2011 by everythingwentblack

Tombs just wrapped up a European Tour with our buddies The Secret. I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Michael Bertoldini and Marco Coslovich of The Secret, along with Carson James from Tombs. We opened the talk with addressing the false accusations of fascism thrown at The Secret by a German promoter; we just rolled after that.

I apologize in advance for the sound quality.

BEHOLD!!!
http://everythingwentblack.podbean.com/

Transmission 8.23.2011 European Tour Journal

Posted in The Trip with tags , , , , , on August 24, 2011 by everythingwentblack


7.20.2011 00:50
I’m watching the end of the Lemmy documentary. It started off bad: mostly a series of quickly edited pieces of interviews with people like Nikki Sixx, Kat Von Dee, the dude in Rancid and Billy Bob Thorton. It was very showbiz. Later on, there were guys like Rollins, Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible which made up for the “L.A. contingency.” I mean come on, Nikki Sixx? Duff McKagan was in there as well and made the claim that Guns ‘n’ Roses were attempting to be as heavy as Motorhead. They fell short.

Lemmy’s personality overcame all of this and the movie was pretty decent. I was a massive fan of the first few records: “Motorhead,” “Overkill,” “Bomber,” “Ace of Spades,” “Iron Fist” are all great. I dug “Orgasmatron” and “Bastards” but I don’t celebrate the rest of the catalog, maybe I should check out the later records again.

It’s hot. The A.C. is on in my room, but it’s hot and uncomfortable out here. I’m looking forward to getting out of here; I’ve about had my fill of New York in the summer. The air is heavy and everything is moving very slowly.

I got in a great work out before practice. It’s the same regimen of pushups, conditioning, body weight squats and kettle bells. Our practice space is close to the gym so it all works out.

I ordered a new bag from REI, I decided that it’s time that I had some real, functional luggage. It should be arriving tomorrow.

11:56
I woke up and realized that today was going to be one of those days where it’s best to stay down. I’m waiting for UPS to show up and deliver my bag, I have a phone interview at 15:00 and then it’s off to practice. I slept until about 07:30, but up, made some coffee and fell asleep on the couch.

I’m checking out the bonus material on disc 2 of the documentary. There’s some good stuff on it: Fast Eddie Clark, Ice-T, Rollins, Steve Vai. Sebastian Bach came off really cool. I’ve heard from some people that have worked with him that he’s really cool.

I don’t really have anything pressing to do before I leave outside of rehearsal. Once my bag arrives, I’ll pack and get all of my gear together.

7.22.2011 08:12
I woke up thinking about money. That’s been the first thing on my mind for the last several weeks. I’ve had this sort of hunter / gatherer relationship with money for the last year. It comes and goes, there isn’t a regular paycheck in any of this for me. I’m going to do everything within my power to not have a boss again. I’ve worked office jobs for years and I can testify that it’s not for me.

Dan is staying here with me until we ship out. We’ve been rehearsing hard all week, running the set. It’s the last run through where the real work happens, when you’re exhausted and you want to call it a night. It’s like running that final quarter mile where the only thing that carries you through is your will. The final run of the set most likely doesn’t sound good, but like I said, that’s where the real work is done. It’s similar to doing body weight squats. Most people can easily knock out 15, 20, maybe 30, but when you get up to 60 and 70 is when you’re doing the most for yourself. Those moments where you’re extending yourself past what you thought is possible are the most important. Those are your best friends.

The summer heat oppression continues.

7.24.2011 Delta Flight DL 56 20:13

We’ve been in the air for about an hour. We got to Newark Airport nice and early, checked in and went through security without any hitches. I have my pack down to a science: I’m rolling with a carry-on backpack, my laptop bag and my flight case.

No matter how many times I fly, I always have those minor anxiety tremors when I meditate on the fact that I’m slicing through the atmosphere in a pressurized metal tank with wings. As we took off, I looked out of the porthole and saw IKEA looming in the distance. I imagined a world where I had a beautiful place to live somewhere other than Brooklyn, outfitted with every storage solution imaginable. I’d have one of those killer lamps that I would use to illuminate my reading room. I’d have those really soft IKEA towels in the shower room. That vision morphed into a nightmare of the plane exploding shortly after lifting off of the tarmac.

We’re in the air. The First Class are getting their meals. I’m hungry and looking forward to whatever generic meal they have in store for us. It won’t measure up to Luftansa’s fair; Luftansa rules the international airways.

The sky is a dark blue on my side of the plane. The horizon is on fire as I look out the windows on the other side of the plane. I’m looking down, watching the coast disappear as we make out way over the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t know what land mass is below us: Long Island, maybe? There aren’t many houses or roads below us. I think about living somewhere like that, away from people. I imagine the nights to be dark with a lattice of stars above without the neon suns of the city interfering.

I brought two books to read on this tour: “Food of the Gods” by Terence McKenna ad “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil. I knocked out almost 100 page of the McKenna book so far. It’s pretty intense stuff. The part that is hitting me the hardest is the concept that Christianity and Western Religion is the ultimate statement of male ego. It’s a structure of dominance without any female counterpart to the monotheistic concept of the Male god. The pagan religions all had a female counterpart to balance out the whole trip out. I never really thought about it that way before. The whole dominance idea comes from feelings of powerlessness not feelings of power. It’s giving me a lot to think about.

The other night, I checked out the Vice TV episode about Liberia. It totally blew my mind. The level of violence and depravity in that country is staggering. Child soldiers, cannibalism, wholesale rape and general hopelessness are all part of the tale of horror that is the Liberian Experience. It’s like watching some post-apocalyptic Science Fiction movie populated by character with names like General Butt Naked, General Rambo, General Mosquito (and General Mosquito Spray) except that it’s real and it’s happening right now. I watched it two days ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

The dinner cart is almost here.

7.25.2011 Amsterdam, Netherlands 12:05

I’m cranking “Dreaming with the Dead” by Ripping Corpse in my headphones as I sit in this bizarre hang-out area in the airport. The walls are painted green, there are these weird golf carts parked nearby with these weird leaf patterns emblazoned on them. Fake bird sounds are being piped in over the sound system. Behind there is a row of these comfortable recliners where weary European travelers are crashed out on.

The flight from Newark arrived at about 07:30, the flight to Venice boards at 14:20; that’s a lot of hours to kill. I’m exhausted but I can’t seem to be able to sleep. I was listening to the latest Alex Jones “Info-Wars” podcast last night and sunk into this paranoid anxiety trip. He was reporting on the recent violence in Oslo; a lot of information is just becoming available, there are some eyewitness accounts and a lot of what the mainstream media is saying doesn’t seem to add up. Jones and his ilk seem to think that it’s some kind of Global Banker conspiracy to rally Europe as there economic system crumbles. Norway has recently pulled out of Libya, has shown support for a Palestinian state and has cut off its funding to the Greek financial bail-out. There’s talk that the violence is a response to all of that. I’ve heard reports that the media is saying that it’s a White Al Queda operation. Honestly, I’m too wiped out to realistically make any kind of analysis.

I just read the Rorshach “Protestant” Hall of Fame piece in Decibel. It made me feel a little nostalgic. That’s so typical for me. Instead of getting sentimental, I should just acknowledge that it’s a great album that came out during a period in hardcore punk when nothing like it was around. Honestly, I like Protestant and Remain Sedate equally. A lot of bands owe their whole trip to Rorshach.

The flight down to Venice is about 2 hours where we meet The Secret and then it’s a 2 hour drive to Trieste where we’ll rehearse with the gear for a while. It’ll be a 24 hour travel day for us; whenever Relapse is involved in booking the flights it always ends up being this odyssey. I’d like to meet the travel agent one of these days.

The tour kicks off tomorrow. All of this so we can get up on the road and deliver the set.

7.26.2011 Arese, Italy 23:31
The set was rough; the first set of the tour on borrowed gear and some minor technical problems and no sound check provided obstacles for me. By the second song, I feel like we managed to regain any ground we may have lost in the set.

This must be a hard place for Dan to be in. It’s his show with the band and he’s in a foreign country playing on someone else’s gear.

The Secret were awesome. They’re a great band and it’s going to be a good tour.

Black Breath is getting ready to play; I’m feeling beat and a little letdown by our set.

I saw a kid wearing a Castevet shirt; I have to remember to tell Josh.

7.27.2011 Munich, Germany 02:00
Tonight was way better. We had time to sound check and get our situated before playing. I feel good about the set, but we’re not quite in the groove yet.

Right now we’re kicking back in the overnight quarters in the building next to the venue. We played here on the last European tour. We had some good food and now it’s time to get some rack time. We have a relatively short drive tomorrow.,

After the show, Dan and I were dropped off at some dude’s apartment. The promoter was driving ahead of the van and when we pulled up in front of an apartment building he stopped his car and told us to go up the third floor. It’s was sketchy. I could hear voices but I couldn’t see anyone. My first reaction was to go back to the van, but they had already pulled away. We climbed the three flights up to an apartment with the door open. It turned out to be this guy from the show. We crashed out and got a few hours of sleep.

The ride today was long and tedious. I dozed off a few times.


7.28.2011 Marbug, Germany 20:19

Originally we were scheduled to play in Nuremburg tonight but the show was canceled because some German kid saw a photo of Marco wearing a Burzum t-shirt. It’s a little extreme if you ask me. I understand that the Germans carry a heavy burden when it comes to World War II, but it’s pretty clear that The Secret aren’t Nazis. Something similar to this happened to Wolves in the Throne Room but at least they had an opportunity to have a discussion with whoever had an issue with them. The frustrating thing is that there is a rising scene of real Neo-Fascists in Germany that these kids could be dealing on instead of harassing The Secret and canceling the show.

Instead we’re playing at this beer hall. It has the feel of “one of those nights” but I need to keep rolling. The only thing that has any meaning to me these days is playing the set. To add to the vibe, the kick drum pedal broke during sound check. The opening band we gracious enough to loan us their kit but that’s a temporary fix until tomorrow. Andrew told me that we need to requisition a new pedal, the old one can’t be fixed.

I rode in the van with my head phones on all day. We stopped for fuel and food on the highway. In Germany, you have to pay to use the bathrooms; you put in a 1 Euro coin and you get 30 cents back. If you want, you can buy a cup of coffee for 50 cents off if you show you receipt. They still jack you for 20 cents.

I feel like I’m in a hole. I feel like a black cloud passing over the beautiful German countryside. I remember during the weeks leading up to the tour, I had a feeling that I shouldn’t go; that I was at the cusp of changes and that my future is hanging in the balance. That premonition was correct, for me this is going to be a long ordeal.

On one of our fuel breaks I went into the pay toilet. The Germans, being master engineers, designed a self-cleaning toilet seat. When you flush, the seat rotates through a cleaning device, sterilizing the seat for its next use.

21:07
This is one of those towns that come to mind when I think about Germany. It’s clean, quiet and very placid. I walked up to a pharmacy to get some supplies and walked by people coming home from work to their families. I feel so tired right now and my heart is heavy, there is a tremendous weight on my shoulders. Maybe I’m not designed for the life of relationships, I keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

7.28.2011 Marburg, Germany 02:02

We’re checked into a hotel. I should get to sleep soon, I know when I put my head down, I’ll fall out immediately but I can’t slow my brain down.

I felt like it was the best set of the tour so far. I feel locked in and ready to hit the rest of the dates. It’s always hard in Europe when it comes to using borrowed or rented gear. In this case, we’re borrowing The Secret’s gear. It’s good equipment but I’m accustomed to using my rig back home so there are some adjustments that I had to make. I felt good about playing tonight.

I counted five people in the audience. One kid had the old Shirtkiller design that Wohlberg did for us a couple of years ago. Well, they got a show tonight, I didn’t fly out here all the way from the U.S. to whine about a poorly attended show. I’ll take it over a day off; we have a couple on this tour and I’m dreading the down time. There will be a lot of time to be left with my thoughts and no clear objective.

The Secret were great. They ruled when we played with them on the last tour, but they’ve gotten to be really amazing. They’re also really easy guys to be around which is crucial to the close quarters that we’re traveling in on this tour.

Tonight was originally scheduled for Nuremburg but due to some sensitive issues concerning a Burzum t-shirt, the show was canceled and Marburg was the replacement city. It had the feel of a last minute show. I heard that there was a huge ska show in town so the promoter was concerned about the turn-out. Most likely, there just isn’t a scene for what our bands do in this town. I’m grateful for the five dudes that came out, but sometimes things don’t work out as you hope they will. Also, I don’t think anyone that would be at a ska show would necessarily be into what either of our bands.

One of the things I dislike about Europe, especially these small German towns is that you can’t really get food late at night. It’s a ghost town outside. I think this was one of the towns that was destroyed during World War II; none of the buildings look that old and the architecture reminds me of Dresden, a city that I know for a fact was bombed to Hell by the allies.

I’m tired of getting over things; I’m tired of loss and living with all of my mistakes. I feel like I’ve hit the end of the line in a lot of ways. There is Hell waiting for me when I get back from this tour. My Hell will take many different forms, I know this for a fact, but not all of the forms have revealed themselves to me. There will be loneliness involved, pain and regret. I will re-learn the self-hate that I have been trying to shake for the past few years. I will understand all of my failures because they will be sitting right in front of me every day until I kill the part of me that feels.

It’s the same blues jam as before; I will never learn.

I’m in the hotel room alone tonight. There are two beds and somehow I managed to get a room to myself. It’s quiet like I haven’t experienced in a long time. Everything feels still and motionless. I’ve been keeping to myself a lot on this tour. Everyone is cool, but I just don’t feel like talking to anyone or hanging out.

3.30.2011 Ferry to Finland 18:41

We left after the show in Berlin last night and drove to the ferry station in Stockholm. Marco did the entire drive by himself. At some point in Germany we got onto a ferry to Denmark; that was his only break. I vaguely remember sitting in the lounge for the brief 45 minute run.

We rolled into Berlin, sound checked, played the show and bailed. It was raining and miserable, just like I remember Berlin. I’ve been there three times and it’s been cold and dark every time. The venue was in the eastern, formerly Communist part of the city. I think we played well but I honestly don’t remember much of the night. I do remember seeing Florian from Crowskin as I was heading up the stairs into the venue after the show. Also, Greg Wetnurse and Rachel from Arkon were there. Americans show up everywhere.

7.31.2011 Ferry to Finland 00:13
I was up on the deck for a good amount of time tonight. The last time I made this trip it was winter, freezing and dark. The weather tonight was warm with a slight breeze. At this time of the year the sun doesn’t set until almost midnight. It was real trippy hanging out in the dusk sun at 22:20.

We’re meeting in the morning at 08:00 for breakfast, the ferry lands at 09:00 and then it’s a two hour drive. It was quiet tonight. Without a show to play it was hard keeping my mind away from the heavy thoughts running through my head.

15:42 Tampere, Finland
We’re loaded into the venue. We just ate and now I’m drinking some coffee. The Secret are gearing up for sound check. It’s beautiful up here in Finland, everyone is polite and the vibe is real easy. I want to get down to playing.

I noticed that the monitor engineer is wearing a Burzum shirt. Do you think the Germans would allow him into their country wearing that shirt?

During load out, a guitar amp fell on Ben’s foot. There’s two casualties in the Secret’s crew. During the show in Marburg, the opening band was loading off of the stage and the snare drum fell on Lorenzo’s foot. He didn’t have any problems with it until yesterday; on the ferry it began to swell up. Michael took him to the med office on the ferry, they wrapped it up and gave him some crutches so he can get around.

I feel empty. I feel like I’ve deeply fucked up and that there is no future for me. I wish I could just dissolve and blow away. I’ve had enough of this world that I’ve made for myself. I wish I was done with this tour but I also don’t want to be home. I think when I get back, I may try to live somewhere else and find work doing…whatever. I have to make a plan. I’ve started to look at my life and it doesn’t look good to me. Until the I’m riding on the Deathstar.

12:32
The Secret are playing now. I watched their first few songs and wanted to get some water in the backstage area. Lorenzo was limping around the stage but he was hanging in there. I also caught Ben limping by in front of the stage with his camera. I hope there aren’t any more casualties on this tour.

The Fins are standing politely by while we all play our sets, people up north seem very reserved. I think we played well tonight. The set is the only time that I’m not thinking about the world of shit that I’m in. In the van, eating my dinner, walking around whatever town I’m in, it’s on my shoulder whispering in my ear. I can feel it eating my insides. To know that you fucked yourself up is the worst feeling in the world; being able to replay all of your mistakes like a movie is one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt.

Life on the Death Star.

00:32
We’re in one of the nicest Holiday Inn rooms that I’ve ever stayed in. I just took a shower and an episode of Dexter is on television. It was light until about 23:00 tonight. I’m not tired but I should sleep. Sleep is the enemy, there is no respite for me in sleep.

The only respite is the set, but even then, I feel thoughts invading my brain. I feel like half of myself is playing the set and the other half is drifting away. I feel distance from everyone, after the set I want to sit in a dark room, alone.

I am the only passenger on the Death Star as I career into the void. I leave the world and everyone I know behind. It fades away and I want to forget. I want everyone to forget that they ever knew me.

I have to make sure that I remember this as I move forward. It’s too late for me. I would like to have been able to hold on but I can’t. I’m just not capable of it.

8.1.2012 Helsinki, Finland 18:39
I’m in the backstage room. We loaded in and The Secret are getting ready to sound check. We arrived in the city at around 15:00 and checked into one of those Finnish hotel chains where you punch a code into a keypad and you gain access to your room. It was the same chain that we stayed in last time around. The room looked identical, for all I know it’s the same room.

I got some chow with Michael and Marco at a kebab place near the hotel. It wouldn’t be a proper European tour without getting a kebab at some point. It’s good being on the road with these guys; they’re a killer band and really cool people.

I listened to some Bill Hicks mp3’s that I downloaded from the internet before we shipped out. One of the things that he said during one of his rants is really sticking in my head: “Everything we learned is learned, but not necessarily true.” I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon. We take so much information for granted, we believe that it is true without ever challenging it. We conduct ourselves in ways that echo what has gone before but never question whether or not that’s the correct path.

I’m travelling on the Death Star, the path is bleak. Echoes of all of my failures are trailing me like the tail of a comet. Life isn’t short enough, it will continue on and on. I don’t live life anymore, I endure it. Life is a test of endurance.

8.2.2011 Helsinki, Finland 10:10

The show last night was really cool. It was a good turn-out for a Monday night. I felt really locked into the set when we played. There has been a lot of emotional tension in my life since the tour started; playing is the only release for me. All of the other time is downtime to stew in all of the negative thought processes that are in my brain.

Finland is a beautiful place filled with pleasant people. I’d like to just break away from the tour and stay here, and disappear from everyone’s radar. Today is a travel day. We board the ferry at 17:00 and dig in for another 15 hour ferry ride. At the end of it, we have a 9 hour drive to Hamburg. It’s a ball-breaker.

I’m in the hotel room with Michael and Lorenzo. I’m going to take a shower and clean up. We have a few hours before we need to saddle up.


8.3.2011 Hamburg, Germany 03:49

Everyone else is asleep. I was in my bunk but couldn’t get comfortable so I thought that I’d write for a while. We had an intense 27 hour travel situation that we just endured. After the 15 hour ferry ride across the Baltic from Finland to Sweden, we drove to Denmark, caught another ferry to Germany and drove to the port city of Hamburg. We arrived at the venue at 22:00 and played the set at 22:45. Everyone was wiped out, it was hot on stage and I don’t know if we played well or not. After the set, I felt all of the energy drain out of me.

We’re bunking in an apartment attached to the venue; all of the gear is locked away downstairs; the plan is to load out in the morning, eat breakfast and head out to Tilburg. It’s a short 5 hour run so it’ll seem like a cakewalk after the brutal hours we’ve been logging in.

Time passes in a weird, convoluted way when you travel like this. The ferry ride seems like a hallucination right now. During the evening we hung out at this casino / music venue on the boat. A cover band was playing random American hits. At midnight the a dance company took the stage, it was mostly Russian women with a few men doing these lip synch numbers to an odd selection of movie songs ranging from Rocky Horror Picture Show, to Grease to The Titanic. I felt an array of emotions as I watched the attractive Eastern European women dance across the stage wearing next to nothing.

After the show, the cover band took the stage and played another set. It’s a hard gig playing all of those sets in one night. I watched this guy and his wife dance. They were both excellent dancers; the guy was in this early to mid-50’s, fit and just had tons of self-confidence. He seemed like one of those guys that was probably good at everything, had a great job, a nice family and was an overall success. I thought about how I was going down to my room, passing out for a few hours, getting back into a van full of unwashed men and driving to Hamburg. At the end of all of this I was going to take a plane back to my ruined life.

The days off are over with for a while. There are a lot of days off on this tour, mostly due to the long travel miles. It’s hard on morale. The days off interfere with the vibe, the routine of playing, making it hard to lock into the set. Tonight felt good, but I’m really looking for that intensity that comes from the second week of straight shows.

At this point, it’s all I have.

8.4.2011 Tilburg, Netherlands 17:41

We’re playing in this massive venue where Roadburn is held every year. It’s immaculate. There are three rooms here, one 1000 cap room, a 300 cap room and a 125 cap room. Our show is in the 125 cap room. There’s an opening band tonight so we’re not sound checking.

The drive today felt like it went on forever.

10:05
We just finished the set; it was hot as hell on stage, I must have sweat off about 10 pounds during our set. We played well, I felt good about our performance. I was gearing up for it all day during the van ride. It’s the only thing that holds me together.

The Secret are getting ready to play. I’m downstairs in the labyrinth-like backstage. It’s two floors below the room that we played in. It reminds me of that scene in Spinal Tap where the band can’t find the stage. I’ve got the fan blasting on me. The air is still and heavy down here.

I just got an interview from Betsey to do. I’ll knock it out before the show’s over. I just deployed a double espresso from the high-tech coffee maker down the hall.

8.5.2011 London, UK 21:25

We just finished playing the set. I made a couple of mistakes early on but I locked in and got my shit together. There was a lot of negative energy running through my head tonight. After the first song, I was able to sink deeply into the music. It felt good to get back into my body and do something good.

We were on the move at 07:00 this morning and drove from Tilburg to Calais to catch the ferry. The Customs situation is always a drag, takes a long time and inevitably made us miss the first ferry out. The travel has been brutal and is starting to wear a little on everybody. It gives me a lot of time to think, which is good and at the same time bad.

I dozed off for a while on the way to London; when I opened my eyes, we were on a road somewhere in the English countryside. It seemed like a roundabout way. This kind of thing happens in the age of the GPS where nobody has to look at a map anymore.

We ended up getting to the venue a little behind schedule. One of Michael’s amplifiers crapped out last night, luckily Matt was able to point him to a repair shop down the street and he was able to sort out his issues.

Matt’s band, Dead Existence opened the show tonight. They crushed it.

I can feel my body falling apart as each day goes by, I feel like I’m deteriorating.

We’re getting back in van at 02:00 and driving to the next ferry. I was told that we’re looking forward to 7 hour drive, then another ferry ride and then some more driving to get to our destination in Northern Ireland. I don’t know what the next date is, I just get in the van, look at some of the countryside and when it’s time to play, I play. The playing is what keeps me going.

Carson was just here, he told me that a lot of people are here and were looking forward to seeing us play. I wish I could feel something good. Any positive feelings resulting from this are obliterated.

8.6.2011 Belfast, Northern Ireland 20:53
We left London around 02:30 and drove through what was left of the night to Scotland where we picked up the ferry to Belfast. I was in and out of consciousness; I can’t really sleep on those overnight drives. We haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in almost two days. The other night in Tilburg, we crashed in one of those Formula 1 motels with the bunk beds. I think I got a solid 1 and a half hours of rack time before we had to be back in the van. The travel has been vicious.

We got to the venue and waited around for the promoter; we were early. I fell asleep on a bench for a few hours. It was the deepest sleep I’ve had in days. I woke up to the sound of gear being moved up the stairs. It felt like another day had passed, I didn’t know where I was at first. I had dreams of people waving goodbye to me.

The opening band is doing their sound check. Earlier on Dan was walking around and was confronted by a group of young hooligans, he averted the situation. Belfast is a tough town.

8.7.2011 Dublin, Ireland 18:36

There seems to be an issue about whether or not the show is going to happen or not. The bartender told Ben that he didn’t know anything about a show. We’re standing by; Ben is trying to get the promoter on the phone.

Last night was a pretty small show. I think we played well. The talented Glyn Smyth was at the show. Afterward we stayed at his place and the Secret guys stayed with the promoter. We hiked from the venue to his flat over Ormeau Bridge which was the epicenter of the riots between the Catholics and the Protestants back in the day. Glyn was telling us that when he was young, it was common to cross the street while British soldiers clocked you through the scopes of their rifles.

We stayed up until some ungodly hour of the morning listening to music and talking. He turned me on to some European bands that I hadn’t heard of: Zorn, Abandon, and a few others. My eyes were closing, but his intensity kept me going as we played track after track. He also turned me on to his old band The Dagda. All of that stuff is on my thumb drive now. Eventually I fell asleep in a spare room. Glyn and his buddy Ian kept raging, playing track after track.

We’re waiting to see if this is going to happen or not.

8.8.2011 Dublin, Ireland 09:46

The show ended up getting shutdown at the original venue and moved to this other spot across town. Despite all of the fumbles and dropped passes, we managed to play and a handful of people showed up. We played well.

I feel exhausted. We’re about halfway through with this tour. It’s a haul. The Secret are great guys to be on the road with. It’s not easy to be travelling in such close quarters, but we’re all getting along. On that level, the tour is really easy. With all of the brutal drives and no sleep it wouldn’t take much for some drama to unfold.

Jamie from Drainland gave me the three disc version of “Last House on the Left”. Apparently, he heard on the podcast that I haven’t seen it yet. I’m not sure if I can play it but when I get home, I may have to invest in an all region DVD player.


17:29 Galway, Ireland

I watched the Irish countryside out of the van window. I felt pieces of myself fall away, left on the side of the road. When I get back stateside, there will be nothing left. I’m the sole passenger on the Deathstar. The only thing keeping me together is the set every night. I don’t want a day off. After the set, I want to sit alone in a dark room.

I deserve all of this. Every compromise that I have made has led me to this point. It’s only a matter of time before I’m back here at the bottom.

Galway is a beautiful town. I’m thinking about Belfast and how intense that place is. A lot of really heavy shit went down there, a lot of people lost their lives. You can feel the dead souls in that city. Hanging with Glyn was cool. I would like to come back for an extended visit at some point. That dude is into so much cool shit.

I saw this girl at the venue that made the anxiety kick into overdrive. I imagine that someone loves her with all of his heart. I want to destroy myself, but first I want to finish this tour. I want to do these dates and dissolve. I can feel myself dissolving every day. On the rare occasion that someone talks to me at a show, they are talking to a reflection of me. The real me is far away.

20:11
I just ate some food; it was good to punctuate my steady diet of bread cheese and fried foods with some salad and fruit. It’s been brutal on my stomach. I feel a little more positive. Soon the show will be kicking off and I’ll have something to do.

Tomorrow is our last day in Ireland. We immediately get back on track with a 05:00 call time, a 3 hour ferry ride and a 5 hour drive to the next city in the UK. We’ve been spoiled with 2 ½ hour drive for the past few days. It makes me wonder if the tour was booked by looking at a map.

I haven’t been paying attention to the news for the last few days. Carson just told me that there was a huge, racially charged riot in London the day after we played there. I don’t have a lot of information on it.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to do this year after year; why I put myself through all of this. Is it masochism? Is it vanity? Either way, it’s a fool’s mission: poor intel for a suicide mission. It will consume your life and destroy your relationships. The most depressing concept that I work with is that if we stopped tomorrow, we would be forgotten in a matter of months if not less.

01:30
I felt like I played really hard tonight. It’s all that I have right now. I feel like my life back home is falling apart. I fucked everything up so the least I can do is make sure I do my job out here. Galway was a really good time. I felt like people were into it.

There were a lot of pretty girls at the show. It just bums me out at this point.

I’m doing some laundry. The dudes in The Secret are cooking some pasta. Earlier on they went out to a market to buy some ingredients for some homemade Italian food. I’m down. I really love those guys, I wish I could be more present but right now there is a lot on my mind.

I just read this awesome review of the record. It seems to be getting a lot of positive press; we worked really hard on it. It’s hard to read good reviews, though I would rather read a good review than a bad review. I can see where the record falls short in places, but I think that is the subjective burden that we feel.

I’m thinking back to all the rehearsal we put in; all of the demo recordings and time I spent in the practice space alone working on my vocals. We put an effort out, I know that we really pushed the envelope of our abilities with this record. I didn’t want to have any expectations.

8.9.2011 Galway, Ireland 02:32

Tomaso cooked up some pasta with mushrooms. I ate some and it made me feel a little better to have some hot food in my stomach. I tried the shower but there wasn’t any hot water; maybe all of the laundry we did used up the hot water.


Cork, Ireland 18:30

It was a short run down to Cork from Galway. I listened to “Quiet Wars” on the way down in it’s entirely. It feels like lifetimes have passed since we did that record. It’s a good, solid effort; it lifted my mood listening to it. My life was a lot simpler during that period of time. I wish I could go back to that and redo the last decade.

The show is going to be over with late tonight. We’re driving to Drainland’s bassist’s place to crash for a few hours then catch at ferry at 09:00 to Wales, then we have a 5 hour drive down to Southampton. I saw on the news that there are riots breaking out all over the UK.

8.10.2011 Southampton, UK 17:05
We just loaded into the venue. It feels like Autumn outside. It’s cold and overcast. I feel like we’re touring in the States during October. We’re in a rundown part of town and everyone is exhausted. There’s a lonely vibe in this part of town, a lot of small markets and cheap Indian food.

The show last night was decent as far as playing went; there was a cross beam about 6 inches above my head which distracted me from executing the set in an enthusiastic manner. Also, I was pretty much obscured by the PA speakers during our whole set. I don’t know if anyone was into it or not. After we played, I went to the backstage area. I didn’t feel like interacting with anyone very much.

Drainland were good; their sound up in Galway was weird so I couldn’t get a feel for what they’re all about. Last night, I got the full on treatment: heavy dose of old Swans and Godlfesh crossed with doomy metal.

One of the highlights of the day was doing the podcast with Michael, Marco and Carson. We did about 45 minutes before dinner was served. I think we’re going to do another one on the ferry back to Calais. I want to include Lorenzo in this one.

It’s awesome hanging with The Secret. I feel tight with them. They are a solid as fuck band and extremely cool guys. There are no attitudes or unprofessionalism; everyone is here to destroy every night.

19:45
My steady diet of bread, cheese and fried food was punctuated by a huge salad tonight. Usually the UK isn’t known for provided decent food, so I was pleasantly surprised. I feel slightly better after eating. No one is sound checking tonight except for the opening band. I have a feeling that tonight’s show is going to be empty.

I listened to half of Rogan’s podcast in the van today. Aubrey Marcus was on describing his 6 day Ayahuasca experience. It was powerful and I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of it. I’m fascinated by ayahuasca and DMT trips, not as a thrill seeker but as someone who wants to heal, re create himself and break down weakness and fear.

I feel like I’ve bottomed out. A lot of things have ended in my life, I don’t have a clear cut vision of the future, but somehow I feel like this is an opportunity to change and move forward without ego. I don’t want to succumb to the same mistakes and issues that have been plaguing me my whole life.

One more day in the UK then we’re back to the mainland for the final leg of the tour.

8.11.2011 Margate, UK 15:06

We’re all loaded in. Margate is a beachside town and reminds me of a less sleazy, British Coney Island. There’s a gentle breeze coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a main drag with arcades, restaurants and fish joints.

Last night turned out to be pretty cool. We played well and a handful of people showed up. I talked to some people after the show and they were surprised that the tour came to Southampton. If you book a show we’ll show up to play.

After the show we all went to this Indian restaurant next to the venue for an extremely well-priced meal. Apparently, it was their second day open and were stoked for the business. Too bad, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be back for a return visit. That’s an odd thought; I know that we’ll be back to places like London, Berlin, Helsinki, but places like Southington are not likely to have a return visit. Over the last few days I noticed names of towns that we’ve played, Cardiff, Brighton, etc. I can’t even remember what they were like. Hanging at the Indian place was one of those cool tour nights. Everyone was starving and tired from the brutality of the last 24 hour travel. We’re were stoked to be eating some awesome food and looking up pictures of Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly on the internet.

After our Indian feast we went to the hotel. Everyone was beat.

I feel a lot better today. It felt like all of my calories of energy were being spent on just keeping my eyes open and my heart beating over the last 30 hours or so. I got over 8 hours of deep sleep last night and took a hot shower this morning. Unfortunately, the liquid soap dispense was empty and I had to use anti-bacterial hand soap to shower with.

I’ve been catching bits and pieces of intel regarding the riots. The news is saying that it’s racially motivated, but all of the video I’ve seen shows white youths in ski masks raising hell. There’s also the claim that the economic strife is at the heart of the violence. A lot of the footage I’ve seen shows youth breaking into stores and stealing Rolex watches and shoes. My gut tells me that there’s a thinning line between civilization and savagery that seems to be eroding with each year.

I Re-listened to Rogan’s podcast with Aubrey Marcus. It was a trip and gave me a lot to think about. I’ve been reconsidering my point of view on certain substances considered to be drugs. I believe that substances like psilocybin, DMT, Ayahuasca and other psychoactive drugs can heal people. Our egos are running rampant and as Bill Hicks said, “everything we’ve learned is learned, not necessarily true.” We’ve all picked up so much trauma in our lives that shapes our world view and in most cases blinds us to the truth about ourselves. I believe psychedelics can help heal people.

The Secret are sound checking. There are five bands on the bill tonight. This is it for the UK. Tomorrow we catch another ferry, the last one on this tour, and head back to the continent.

8.12.2011 Ferry to Calais 10:38

We just disembarked from Dover and we’re on our way back to the European mainland. I feel exhausted and the weak British excuse for coffee is not helping.

The show last night was a rough one. During “Bloodlettesrs” I tripped and fell, somehow I continued playing. About halfway in Carson ran off stage and vomited. I turned on my delay pedal and played some open chords over the samples to fill the empty space. We played “To Cross the Land” ended it.

The show itself was kind of a strange situation. I don’t think there is much of an audience for what we do in Margate. It was close to the ferry and it’s better than a day off. The promoter was cool and understood the situation. There were three other bands on the bill: two hardcore bands and this other sort of Isis-style band. It was the Final Show for one of the hardcore bands so the venue was filled with dudes in athletic gear, definitely a different kind of vibe for us. I find it hard to relate to hardcore kids these days, the scene seems so different than when I was younger; maybe it’s the same and I’m different. Anyway, it would be easy for me to take an attitude about it but the reality was that we were in their town and this was their crowd. One of the guys from the band came up to me after the show and said he was excited about playing with us and that he is a fan of both “Winter Hours” and “Path of Totality”.

8.13.2011 Antwerp, Belgium 10:38

I woke up a few minutes ago. We stayed at this loft in the middle of the city where the guitarist of Plague Town lives. I feel beat, we’re getting into the last leg of the tour and everyone is tired, looking forward to getting this thing done with.

Last night was originally intended to be a day off for some reason. It was a Friday night and normally you would want to play on a Friday night. Neik, a Belgian promoter that we worked with on the last European tour reached out to us and booked the show last minute. He did a great job, a decent amount of people showed up and I saw a good amount of promotion around the city. The only downside was the sound guy was kind of difficult. After our set he confronted me about being too loud. I suppose if he had done a proper line check, he could have regulated that situation. He persisted on pressing me about the volume issues. It would have made me feel good to choke him but instead I told him that he made his point and the conversation was over.

18:19 Bochum, Germany

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it

We’re back in Germany. It was a short run from Antwerp to get here. We stopped at one of those roadside plazas to get some coffee and quick chow. I keep forgetting that you have to pay to use the rest rooms in Europe on the road. Something about that seems totally crooked to me.

The Secret just finished doing their sound check and we’re dug in until the show starts. There was an urn filled with coffee but that seems to be gone. I have a mix of songs playing on my iPod. It’s mostly doo wop music from the 50’s; songs about love lost, desire and that late night longing.

I’ve been thinking about death a lot. Would I want to be buried or incinerated and have my ashes dumped in a landfill somewhere. At times like this I feel like I don’t have a lot of time left on this planet.

10:13
We just played the set. It was good to play well without any situations; there were no technical problems, the sound man was cool, no youth crew and the crowd was totally cool. I’ve never been to Bochum before, all I’ve seen is the inside of the venue and the backstage area.

I was starving before we played. My individual sized pizza is sitting next to me in its box, but I don’t feel very hungry. I feel empty, the big event for the day is over and it’s back to the inside of my skull for the rest of the night.

I just got word from Ralph Schmidt that he will be at the fest tomorrow. I’m stoked; it wouldn’t be a trip to Europe without seeing my brother Ralph.

We have a 09:30 load-in tomorrow at Ieper Fest and we pay at 11:30. I need to get some sleep.

8.14.2911 Bochum, Germany 05:20
We’re at the Formula 1 again. I couldn’t sleep so I decided to take a shower…no hot water and the soap dispenser was empty. I lay in the uncomfortable bed for a few hours, listening to my iPod and decided to just kick it in the lobby until the others showed up. It’s too early for coffee so I’m sitting here alone.

Our load-in is at 09:30.

8.15.2011 Ieper, Belgium 08:05

I woke up and went downstairs to the breakfast room at the hostel we stayed at. It was completely empty; there was a table set up with croissants, rolls, Nutella, Muesli and various spreads. There was an urn filled with yesterday’s coffee, cold and sad. I flipped the switch on in the hopes of getting at least one cup happening before we were on the move for Switzerland.

I imagine that this place was filled with people over the weekend for day 1 and 2 of Ieper Fest. We played yesterday, the third and final day, I imagine that a lot of bands just bailed last night after the show ended. I saw the guys from Exhumed and Decapitated here last night so I know that there are at least two bands here.

We played at an unreasonably early time slot on the small stage. It seemed like we were added as an afterthought. We loaded out gear in through the mud and confusion during the early morning hours. I thing the set started at 11:50. I was surprised that anyone was even at the festival at that time. Stage sound was a bad scene. I was using the cabinets provided by the festival sound company. We opted to not haul our 2 4×12’s and SVT across the fields of mud, but in hindsight we should have just did it. My guitar sound was pretty weak and lacked low end. It sounded like Darkthrone.

The high point of the set was seeing Ralph Schmidt and his fiancée Danni out in the crowd. They made a last minute decision to trek out to Belgium to meet up. Ralph seems happy. We got some food and hung out at one of the tables for a few hours. I also saw Ondra, the driver we had on the last European tour with Buried Inside. He’s driving Bury Your Dead.

I find it hard to relate to what people are calling hardcore these days. I was really looking forward to Exhumed and Decapitated, who luckily were playing back-to-back on the same stage that we played on. Both bands totally kicked ass.

On a whim, I watched Dillinger Escape Plan play their headlining slot on the main stage. They are almost a totally different band than the last time I saw them play close to 7 years ago. I was a marginal fan of their music at best, but I thought they were great last night. I admire the singer; he has a great voice and has a lot of presence on stage, he was confident playing on the big stages. I respect Dillinger more than I like them. I can see where they are taking music and I commend them for doing it, it’s just that I’m not on the same boat that they’re on. I admire that they’ve been at it for so long and are totally professional.

Geneva, Switzerland 10:35
We just finished the set. It was hot as Hell on stage, I was sweating before we even started. I’m sitting backstage, sweating, there’s a tiny fan but it’s not cutting it. I felt like we played really well tonight.

I got a chance to hang with my old friend Brian Strawn, the drummer from Otis, a band I played in for a few years back in the 90’s We spent a lot of time on the road together, toured Europe with Foetus and Barkmarket, and had a lot of funny stories to remember. He’s out here in Geneva for work. After our 9 hour drive, we rolled up to the venue and Brian was outside waiting. It was great to see him; we had a killer meal at this restaurant down the street from the venue and got into a deep conversation. Our stories were like complete inversions of each other. We talked about psychedelics and how a massive mushroom experience led to him getting on the path that he’s currently on now. He’s got a great job and has been married to the same woman for 12 years. I told him that I admired that; I respect anyone who can hold onto a relationship and make it work.

The drive was long today. I read a good chunk of this book “Escape Velocity” by Philip Caputo that Carson loaned me. I didn’t even look at the back cover, I just dove into it. It’s blowing my mind. The opening page grabbed me and now I’m hooked. It runs though his introduction into the life of a journalist and chronicles his work as a war correspondent. It’s some of the most intense writing that I’ve read in a long time.

It feels like all I’ve known is the van. The drives are intense and I get deep inside my head as we crush the miles. At times I feel like I’m still in the US, but then I see a sign written in a foreign language and I snap back into the reality of the van.

The only things that matter are life and death. Death is the only absolute in this world, everything else we do is a distraction from thinking about death. Someone told me that love and honor are the only things that matter, but I know the real truth. In death it doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished because when they put you in the ground, you potential goes to zero. Over a long enough timeline nothing really means anything. All of these things that I put so much energy into will one day mean nothing as life slips away from me.

8.16.2011 Geneva, Switzerland 10:12

I just took a nice, hot shower, this time there was actual soap available, not just anti-bacterial hand cleaner. We have a day off today so the plan is to drive back to Trieste.

There are only a few days left on the tour then we fly back home. I have mixed feelings about getting back. I’m trying not to have any expectations, trying to stay centered on all of this but, hope, one of my worst enemies is lurking in the shadows of my mind. I feel like the condemned man who clings to the hope that a pardon will come as they secure the noose around his neck and slip the hood over his head.

The others are starting to wake up. Breakfast and coffee is happening shortly.

8.17.2011 Highway, Slovenia 12:33

“Long Black Coffee”
We’re on our way to Budapest. Shortly after crossing into Slovenia we stopped at, what Marco indicated, was the last reasonable place to get food. They had a coffee machine and for 1.30€ you can purchase a “long black coffee.” I bought two. The food was awesome, especially considering that we were eating at a truck stop. Everything was fresh and made to order; this is the typical European way. You have to really try to find the artery-clogging fare that is readily available on the road in the U.S. I had a beet salad with cucumbers and sunflower seeds. It felt as if my body was crying out for vegetables.

We drove most of yesterday to get to Trieste. We rolled in at 21:30 and some of the guys crashed with Marco and some stayed with Michael. A group of us went to eat at a place called Bufala. We enjoyed a meal of pizza, beer, mineral water and coffee while sitting outdoors next to a canal. After being in the van all day, it was a welcome respite.

There’s only a few shows left on this tour then we fly home. I wish we had another tour to go on.

Budapest, Hungary 21:02

I’m sitting in the backstage of the venue. We’ve overtaken it and it smells like dirty clothes, sweat and desperation. The drive was long and hard, everyone is tired and completely exhausted, but alas, this was the final long drive of the tour. There’s one more band on and then we play. At this point, all I want to do is play the set. It doesn’t matter where I am or what city I’m in the only thing that has any meaning in my life is the playing. Afterward, I just want to dissolve.

21:55

We just played the set. It felt good to kick it and everyone in the crowd was cool. After a few days of being in the much cooler climates of Switzerland, the stage felt hot. It’s the only time I feel like I’m actually living. I spend the blank moments of the day in the van, burning out. My life is burned out, there is nothing left but shadows.

The final days of the tour are counting down and I’m afraid to go home. I want to stay here and find a new life, leave everything behind me, go someplace where nobody knows me. Last night when I was sitting by the canal in Trieste, I thought about how nice it would be just to stay in Italy. I could become a different person there.

8.18.2011 Vienna, Austria 20:10
I’m waiting to play. We loaded in a few hours ago and I haven’t left the backstage area. I took a shower and shaved. The water was hot and it felt good to wash the filth off. There was an assortment of soaps and body washes in the shower stall. I settled on “Fanjo Douche Gel”.

Tonight has the feeling of one of those hard nights. The venue has a really drab vibe. I don’t remember if our last show in Vienna was any good or not. Either way, I’m going to play hard and keep my head down.

Earlier, I knocked out two email interviews and sent them off to Jeroen. One of the interviewers asked some questions about “Winter Hours” and the “Gossamer” video that put me in a heavy mood.

I’m in this heavy mood; I have a heavy heart. I wish we had another month of dates lined up for when I come back and then another month of dates back here in Europe. I want the road to erase my mind so the only thing I know is how to play the songs. When we meet again we can be strangers and I will look right through you without any recognition. You will be just another beautiful woman.

22:23
We finished the set, now it’s time to sit backstage and burn out. The set is the ultimate part of the day. I focus on it all day. If I fail, the whole day is a fucking waste of time.

I like the smell of the bathrooms in this venue. They use this cleanser that has a soothing, herbal scent, eucalyptus maybe? It’s probably all chemicals.

The internet comes and goes back here; it’s probably for the best. My laptop has become synonymous with bad news and negative vibes.

8.19.2011 Vienna, Austria 10:16
I woke up a few minutes ago and poured a cup of coffee. The whole crew stayed at this guy’s huge flat near the center of the city. The building is beautiful: there’s a balcony, high ceilings, two bathrooms. Apparently six people live here.

I hung out on the balcony with Dan, Tomaso and Mike. We talked late into the night. It was good to hang out, kick back and unwind. The tour is almost over and I think that everyone is anxious to get home and get on to the next thing. There was an interesting mix of people on the street last night. Some drunk guy was standing on the sidewalk staring at us then took a photo with his phone. Maybe he was scoping the placed out to rob it. There was a woman that walked pas us about 5 times. I think she may have been a prostitute.

I checked the various news streams this morning and saw that two of the three West Memphis Three guys are going to be released. They’ve been incarcerated since 1994. There are some good documentaries out there “Paradise Lost” and “A Cry for Innocence” come to mind. If you don’t know the whole story, check it out, it’s infuriating because of the misconduct and total affront to justice.

We have a four hour drive today.

Ljublana, Slovenia 19:18
We just finished eating with the promoter at this really nice restaurant down the street from the venue. The food was amazing, I basically ate a plate of grilled meat; I can feel the protein being absorbed into my blood stream.

We’re playing on an outdoor stage as part of TRN Fest, a Slovenian cultural festival that has been going on all month. The stage sounds great; it’s just Tombs and The Secret tonight. All we need is some people to make up and audience.

I did an interview with this dude from Profanity webzine. He’s talking to Marco now. After the set we’re going to drive back to Trieste. The show curfew is 22:00 so we should be rolling into town at a reasonable hour.

21:15
We just finished the set; I’m backstage cooling off and drinking a Coca-Cola. I haven’t drank Coke in a really, really long time and I must say, it tastes quite good right now.

I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle during the set. The stage sound was way different than during sound check. The monitors were different and I couldn’t hear anything from my position on stage. I felt as if all of the energy had been drained out of me.

I don’t know what to make of the crowd tonight. TRN is a sort of cultural festival so there was a lot of different types of people in the crowd, so I’m not sure how many people were actually here to see the show and how many were here just because it was another night of the fest.

One more show left then we fly home. I wonder what it’ll be like to be home. We’re leaving right after The Secret’s set and driving back to Trieste.

8.20.2011 Trieste, Italy 11:00

I woke up and took a shower. Mike, Lorenzo and Tomaso went out to get coffee and breakfast. Dan and I are here and Carson and Andrew slept over at Marco’s place. Ben left early this morning to go to a doctor’s appointment. I don’t think I’m going to see him before we leave. He’s getting some kind of medical procedure done so he won’t be at the show tonight. I wish I had a chance to say goodbye.

It’s the end of the line. The mission is nearly complete. After the show we have a 2 hour ride to Venice to get on the plane. There’s a lay-over in Amsterdam; we should be landing in Newark at 13:30 tomorrow.

On the way back last night, we drove up to the top of a hill where a huge, modern Catholic church was built. There’s an overlook of Trieste that I believe is called Bella Vista. There was a lightning storm but no rain. I tripped out looking down on the city as these massive bolts of lightning flashed across the sky. At that moment, I really wished I was home.

I feel like my body has deteriorated. I’m tired and feel completely immobile. I’m hoping that some good, strong Italian coffee will help.

16:38
We’re at the venue. The Secret is sound checking. The stage is outside and it’s hot, humid and the sun is relentless. The stage is unshielded from the sun. I looks like those guys are suffering up there. There are a bunch of bands playing tonight. This is The Secret’s hometown so the show should be cool.

It’s hard to believe that the tour is almost over and I’ll be sitting in my apartment in Brooklyn tomorrow. That’s how these things are; it’s all motion and intensity, then it’s all over. It hit me as I was watching those guys set up on stage that I won’t be seeing any of them tomorrow. I’ve been with these guys every day for almost a month. I wish I wasn’t going home.

8.21.2011 Brooklyn, NY 15:46
I just got back from the airport. The apartment feels very empty and still; this is the first time in nearly a month that I’ve been alone and nor I feel more alone than I have in many years. The last 15 hours have been a blur. I don’t remember much about the show in Trieste except that the stage sound was weird. After the show, we packed up, said our goodbyes and Lorenzo and Tomaso drove us off to the airport in Venice.

There was some issues with getting out boarding passes, too much confusion for 04:50 in the morning. The whole process of checking in took us almost an hour. For a while, I thought we were going to miss the flight. We like to knock the Germans, but I have to admit they beat Italy for efficiency.

We had a layover in Amsterdam and connected to our flight back to Newark. I was in and out of sleep for a lot of it and the flight was painless. Erin picked us up and we joined up with the typical New York / New Jersey traffic.

I’m sitting in my room, the sound of the air conditioner is the only thing breaking the silence. Everything feels still, like I stepped off of a train going 150 mph and now I’m absolutely still.

I need a shower and some coffee.